Award-winning London-Irish pub wins fight to stay open

Award-winning London-Irish pub wins fight to stay open

PATRONS of a beleaguered London-Irish pub are celebrating news that it will stay open for the foreseeable future.

Campaigners battling to save the Cock Tavern in Somers Town have announced that landlady Sheila Gavigan has signed a new lease agreement with its owners.

The breakthrough follows a bitter fight with pub holding company County Estates, which Ms Gavigan accused of subjecting her business to unreasonable financial demands in a bid to “drive it out of business”.

But the Sligo woman, who has run the award-winning pub since 1999, withstood the pressure to sign a new lease this week.

Vaughan Thomas, who has led a campaign to save the Cock Tavern, which was backed by the late union kingpin Bob Crow, said the deal meant the pub would remain open and be run as a ‘going concern’.

Ms Gavigan’s solicitor confirmed that a new lease was signed last week. But he was not able to give details of the deal.

County Estates told The Irish Post it no longer manages the venue and declined to say when its contract ended.

The battle to save the Cock Tavern is viewed by its backers as a David versus Goliath fight to protect the traditional working class venue against a wave of gentrification sweeping through London. They feared developers would transform the building into a luxury housing block if they seized control of it.

The Irish Post was unable to contact Ms Gavigan to confirm the details of the pub’s new lease.

But regulars and locals flocked to show their support for the Cock Tavern after news of the deal broke, with many paying tribute to Ms Gavigan’s fight.